Thursday, August 29, 2002


The crass commercialization of 9/11 has reached a new low: Junk faxes:

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

I'M BACK! I wish I could say that I just got back from a nice, relaxing vacation sipping Pina Coladas in Bermuda -- (Actually, I could say it anyway, and you'd never know the difference. But it would be wrong.)

-- Actually, I've just been atypically swamped with real-world deadlines, and the Blog takes a back seat while I'm scrambling to keep my clients happy. That's all.

Now that I'm past all that, I have a question for my New York State readers: Does anyone here really care who wins the Democratic primary in the race for New York's Governor next week?

I've never actually voted for a Republican gubernatorial candidate in my life. In fact -- and in spite of whatever impression some people may have of my political leanings -- I'm actually a registered Democrat. (It's often said that you have to be a Dem in New York City, if you want to have a say in any local primaries that matter.)

But this time around, I'm leaning Republican for a couple of reasons:

(1) Andrew Cuomo; and (2) Carl McCall.

Cuomo has hardly been able to open his mouth in this campaign without embarrassing himself and everyone within earshot -- and I say that as one who has no regrets about voting for Mario four times.

By contrast, McCall seems harmless enough -- but that's exactly the problem. It seems to be his only significant selling point. His campaign slogan may as well be: "I'm harmless; don't be afraid of me."

Granted, Pataki is the ultimate empty-suit politician who came from nowhere and only sailed into high office as a puppet clinging to Al D'Amato's bribe-encrusted right hand. I'm hard-pressed to think of any high-profile accomplishments for which Pataki has legitimate bragging rights, other than lowering taxes -- and throwing the state into a budget crisis. I'm half-tempted to vote Pataki this time around, if only because it was his short-term political opportunism in the good times that created the revenue shortfalls in these hard times. People should have to clean up their own messes.

(Oh -- and of course, Pataki signed the death penalty into law. As if anyone's ever going to be executed in this state. Had Tim McVeigh blown up the New York Times building -- as Ann Coulter famously regretted last week that he hadn't -- McVeigh would have gotten 20-to-life.)

But the other half of my temptation is this: There are actual, practical, pragmatic reasons for sticking with Pataki for another term. For one thing, he's on good terms with the Republican mayor and the Republican president, and this is a particularly good time for the Governor not to be at odds with the people he has to curry favor from. There's something to be said for maintaining continuity during this crucial time of rebuilding and economic reinvigoration.

And in the end, I can't point to anything Pataki's done -- or failed to do -- which demonstrates gross incompetence or a tin ear for the will of the people, or any other failing so egregious that it would warrant his removal from office.

If anyone wants to convince me otherwise, there's a Comments section below: